Using App Store Trending Keywords in Product Development
March 26th, 2015
The closer you get to the customer telling you exactly what they want and are willing to pay for - the less risk in building something that flops. There has always been risk in asking your existing users/clients and target markets what they want - where actual purchases represent only a fraction of the "I absolutely need this feature" crowd. This scenario, played out thousands of times over decades, has led to things like the Lean Methodology, MVPs, and even platforms like Kickstarter. One of the most fool-proof approaches to developing new products or new features is to offer a pre-payment at a significant discount, so clients can tell you what they want - with their wallets. For many mobile apps, however; the communication lines to the client are not as open as with other consumer or business products. Most likely - users of your apps pay Apple or Google directly. They may never know your company name despite daily use of your app. Prepaying for a feature is not a supported payment type in either Apple's App Store or Google Play. Hey - we are still waiting (in vain) for 30-day free trials. So - how do mobile app product managers and the development teams reduce the risk of creating features in their apps that no one is willing to pay for?
That do not drive incremental downloads? Review mining is an option. That is - reading what users are saying about your app, what they are saying about competitor or similar apps.
Which features are they grateful for, which are missing or do not function well? Some information is better than none - but review mining is a little too similar to
asking clients what they want, building it and being met with silence.
App Store Trends
We can capture data from another source. Which keywords and phrases are trending by category and app type?
This data is rich in user intent.
Since most mobile app store search is for "features and functions", app store trends (trending search keywords and phrases) are often essentially "desired features searches". Trending search data from Gummicube represents not the most searched, but rather the breakout terms. So - using App Store trending search to get a sense for trending "requested" features provides a ton of insight into market demand and interest.
Let's go through an example
You have a great photo app.
You have a niche, an engaged user base, and lots of ideas on what features to add next. Looking at the trending searches in the Photos Apps type - we see some themes:
multiple photos, photo collage, combine multiple, pic collage, images together, 2d&3d collages
facebook twitter, instagram facebook, twitter flickr, flickr tumblr, twitter email, instantly share
Either of these directions might reinforce a current development effort, or may add new insight to the specific requirements of the feature. Or you could prioritize adding collages or sharing across (or to and from) multiple social networks. By researching trending searches by category and app type - you can see what users are searching for, identify these features and anticipate demand before your next release.
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